Westgate Heritage Centre
Westgate Heritage Centre aims to tell the story of Westgate on Sea, a unique Victorian development, from 1865 the year when the first houses were built to the present day.
St Saviour’s Church, in which the Westgate Heritage Centre is based, is Grade 2 listed. Built of Kentish ragstone with door and window surrounds of Bath stone, it was designed by Charles Nightingale Beazley RIBA, architect to the Westgate Estate. Historically it is important, as it is the only remaining church in Kent that was designed to be an integral part of a planned Estate.
It was opened 23rd July 1884, when the new parish of St Saviour Westgate-on-Sea was created.
The church’s fine stained glass includes an east window designed by Charles Kempe, a major Victorian stained glass artist, given by A.B. Mitford, grandfather to the Mitford Girls. Six more windows are from Kempe’s studio and five from the Whitefriars. The church has an exceptionally good collection of War Memorials from both World Wars, including the comparatively rare temporary Rolls of Honour, which hung in the church porch during the First World War. They contain the names of all Westgate men who were serving – over 400 in all.
The Heritage Centre has researched the Memorials and has profiles of all those named on the permanent memorials – 78 from the First World War and 33 from the Second. The church also houses the Memorial Boards of Wellington House Boys’ Preparatory School, which closed in 1970.
The church has a ring of six bells, installed in 1974. Five are from the redundant church of Holy Cross Canterbury and include a rare bell by Stephen de Norton of Maidstone c1375.
St Saviour’s Church has fourteen War Memorials. Do visit the church and learn about those remembered on them.
Open the first Saturday in each month between October and April; then open every Saturday (10am-12pm) and Wednesday (10am-1pm) throughout May-September. Talk at 10.30am